SBA EIDL and PPP Updates, Omaha Media Stepping Up to Help

Hopefully most small and mid-sized businesses got their Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications in last week to the Small Business Administration. The PPP program required working with an approved SBA lender. We’re starting to hear that some businesses are signing their PPP loans. More info on our experience so far below.

Free Opportunities

While we’re waiting for loan notifications, hustling to keep everything going we can and starting to think about how we adapt after “crushing the curve,” here’s some free things you can do to stay in front of your customers:

Encourage your customers to vote you the Best

This Sunday, April 19 is the final day for voting in the Omaha World Herald’s Omaha’s Choice Awards. Participants are allowed to vote for their favorite businesses once per day, since March 22. Our very own Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O! runs through April 30 — one person, one vote 

Ask for good, detailed reviews

One thing customers can do to support their favorite businesses is to leave them great, very detailed reviews. A 5-star review is important for every business, but when the reviewer describes the experience, specific products and services and highlights some of the best features of the business that informed their buying decision — a review becomes an important part of a local business’s search engine optimization. So . . . ask your customers for reviews! 

Sign-up for free listing with local media

The Omaha media landscape has stepped up with free exposure for businesses that remain open or offer gift cards. At a minimum, won’t hurt your search engine optimization. Here’s three:

WOWT’s Connect Shop Buy

Part of the Gray Television Network, WOWT is offering a free business listing to open businesses —

KM3's We're Open Promotion
KM3’s We’re Open Promotion

KMTV’s We’re Open

Its one big, sprawling list, but KMTV 3 News Now offers a long list of local businesses that are open on their website. By filling out the form they provide, your business can be included in the long list on the website along with many other area businesses. At the same time, by filling out that same form, you can pitch your business for consideration in its We’re Open segment that airs during their news —

KETV’s Support Omaha metro small businesses by shopping local

KETV is offering a list where you can find all the businesses that are still open and serving the community – and if you have a small business that is not listed you can fill out the form to include it.

Get Your Nextdoor On

The sleeping giant in the local digital business sphere, Nextdoor is the social media of neighborhoods and its seen a 17x spike in conversations about helping local businesses so Nextdoor has responded with some new tools. If you haven’t, first be sure to claim your business identity on Nextdoor, it’s free, but it’s time and it’s there whether you want it or not. Nextdoor has introduced three new features: gift cards, take-out options and fundraising. Activity is high online and this is a great way to better target neighborhoods where your customers have recommended your business.

EIDL and PPP Updates

We were fairly active in filing our loan papers, almost completing the entire application for the EIDL through the original online system before it crashed. We filed our final documents through the only avenue left — a Dropbox file upload button. Whomever is on the other side of that file upload probably had a lot to sort through. Then we filed again when the new streamlined EIDL online application became available on March 30.

Yesterday, we finally heard back from the SBA:

On March 29, 2020, following the passage of the CARES Act, the SBA provided small business owners and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 with the opportunity to obtain up to a $10,000 Advance on their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The Advance is available as part of the full EIDL application and will be transferred into the account you provide shortly after your application is submitted. To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance during this challenging time, the amount of your Advance will be determined by the number of your pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000.

Well, guess we could find out what happened to our first EIDL application (original online system plus file upload replacement), or our 2nd EIDL application (new streamlined system) or we could hear back on PPP any day now. Fun right?

If you’ve heard back, we’d love to hear from you, just to know how the program is working. And, if you’re comfortable sharing your business’s story, we’re all ears. The Reader’s Chris Bowling just did a survey of the small businesses that make up Dundee’s business district. It’s a powerful story of how businesses built on serving the public are adapting.